LAUNCH: Griffith Law Review Special Edition - Judicial decision-making and ‘outside’ extra-legal knowledge: Breaking down silos
5:30 pm17:30

LAUNCH: Griffith Law Review Special Edition - Judicial decision-making and ‘outside’ extra-legal knowledge: Breaking down silos

  • Supreme Court Library, Level 12, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law

This Special Edition of the Griffith Law Review on judicial decision-making will be of significant interest to judges, barristers and solicitors. It interrogates the role of knowledge from ‘outside’ of the law in judicial decision-making and spans diverse areas of law including crime, private law, family law and discrimination. The various authors consider the laws intersection with science, social science and philosophy and analyse how this manifests in different legal spheres.

Themes which emerge include the absence of a clear framework for the reception of outside knowledge, the individualisation of information to single cases created by adversarial system, judicial reliance on common sense assumptions and the expertise and training required to assess the validity and accuracy of information which may be placed before a court.

The papers suggest there is a judicial thirst to access resources relevant to their cases, and that significant benefits may flow, but at this stage there are still risks of lack of natural justice, selectivity and lack of expertise in interpretation of material.

Please join us for refreshments afterwards.

For catering, please RSVP:


6:30 pm18:30

Professor Michael Whincop Memorial Lecture by Professor Megan Davis

We are delighted that this year Professor Megan Davis will give the Professor Michael Whincop Memorial Lecture.  Professor Davis is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Professor Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a member of the NSW Sentencing Council. She is the Chair and UN expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and holds portfolios including Administration of Justice and Gender and Women and is the focal point for UN Women and UN AIDS.  Professor Davis was the Rapporteur of the UN EGM on an Optional Protocol to the UNDRIP in 2015 as well as the author of a UNPFII study on a supervisory mechanism for UNDRIP (2014). She was also the UN Rapporteur for the International Expert Group Meeting on Combating violence against indigenous women and girls: article 22 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Rapporteur for the International EGM on Indigenous Youth.

Professor Davis researches in public law and public international law. Her current research focuses on constitutional design, democratic theory and Indigenous peoples. Megan is one of the CIs in an ARC project on the impact of extra-legal factors on the sentencing of Indigenous offenders of sexual abuse of Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory.

Nov 25

The Future of Ecological Governance and Regulation in Northern Australia Conference

The 2017 Annual Law Futures Centre Conference

24-25 November 2017, Ship Inn Function Centre, Southbank, Brisbane

How to register - TBA

Aim and themes

The major aim of this Conference is to bring together all interested stakeholders – industry, government, Indigenous organisations, the legal profession, non-governmental organisations and the academe – to consider the legal and policy framework for Northern Australia’s ecological future. 

The conference themes will address four strategic areas for creating an effective legal and policy framework to secure a rich and robust northern ecological future: 1) governance; 2) regulation; 3) values in development; and 4) knowledge bases for policy and decision-making.  Each theme will serve as a platform for a round table discussion, followed by a thirty minute open discussion. Each round table will be led by a well-known moderator, with participation by 5 discussants. Below we list confirmed participants, with others to be advised.

These four themes form the basis of the Northern Australian Law Futures (NALF) Research Program. For background on the themes and involvement in the NALF Network visit:

Confirmed Moderators and Discussants

Roundtable 1: Governance

Broad question: How to move from fragmented governance towards integrated governance that is capable of addressing the cumulative social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of northern land, sea and resource use?

Moderator: Professor Allan Dale, Professor of Tropical Regional Development, the Cairns Institute, James Cook University (Qld)


  • (Industry) Mr Grant Maudsley, President, Agforce Queensland (Qld)
  • (Government) Mr MarkCoffey, Head, Office of Northern Australia (NT)
  • (Government) Dr Cathy Robinson, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO (Qld)

Roundtable 2: Regulation

Broad question: How to move from compartmentalised regulation towards legal tools that have capacity to regulate the cumulative effects of a wide range of ecological, cultural, social and economic impacts on terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments?

Moderator: Ms Clare Martin, Chair, Territory Natural Resource Management (NT)


  • (Legal profession) Mr Jeremy Fisher, Principal, Kingfisher Law (NSW)

Roundtable 3: Values in Development

 Broad question:  How to move from a development model based on the economic priorities associated with apparent southern models of development towards political and legal frameworks that are capable of embracing diverse values derived from the north’s unique ecological (and related social and cultural) characteristics?

Moderator:  Ms Sheriden Morris, Chair, Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (Qld)


  • (Indigenous) Ms Kelly Gardner, Land & Sea Regional Coordinator, Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (Qld)
  • (Legal profession) Mr David Morris, Principal Lawyer, EDO NT and Charles Darwin University (NT)
  • (Academe) Professor Ruth Wallace, Director of Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University (NT)
  • (NGO) Dr Kate Andrews, Consultant and EO NRM Regions Australia (Qld)
  • (Academe) Dr Jane Addison, College of Business, Law and Governance, James Cook University (Qld)

Roundtable 4: Knowledge Bases for Policy and Decision-making

Broad question: How to move from narrow scientific knowledge bases underlying environmental regulation towards an approach to decision-making required by environmental law that is capable of being informed by, and captures, a diverse range of knowledge bases including scientific and Indigenous world-views?

Moderator: TBA


  • (Academe) Associate Professor Sue Jackson, Principal Research Fellow, Australian Rivers Institute (Vic)
  • (Industry) Dr Christine Lauchlan Arrowsmith, Group Manager/Principal Engineer, Water Technology (Vic)

5:30 pm17:30

Professor Charles Lawson - Evening Seminar on Plant Breeders Rights

The 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention) introduced the concept of “essentially derived varieties” (EDVs) expanding the scope of the plant breeder’s right. The purpose of EDVs was to limit “plagiarism”, “copycat breeding”, “mimics”, “imitations” or “cosmetic” varieties, and an unfair free riding on the original plant breeder’s time and investment. The problem is how to find a measure of difference to distinguish an EDV from a new variety? The presentation addresses why the threshold legal question of EDV is more than a mere quantitative technical question requiring a technical answer, such as a statistical index or a DNA sequence. The answer lies in the sciences of law and the laws of science ... maybe?

Public Lecture: Hilary Charlesworth - Rights and Regulation
6:15 pm18:15

Public Lecture: Hilary Charlesworth - Rights and Regulation

Professor Hilary Charlesworth is a Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School and Distinguished Professor at the ANU.

Her research includes the structure of the international legal system, peacebuilding, human rights law and international humanitarian law and international legal theory, particularly feminist approaches to international law.

She is an associate member of the Institut de Droit International and served as judge ad hoc in the International Court of Justice in the Whaling in the Antarctic Case (2011-2014).

Criminal Justice Symposium on DNA Evidence
4:45 pm16:45

Criminal Justice Symposium on DNA Evidence

  • Griffith University, South Bank (S05_2.04)

We have chosen the use of DNA evidence in the courtroom as the topic for this symposium as we consider that greater understanding of this type of evidence is an important issue in criminal justice. This symposium aims to ask and answer two main questions: (i) what do the statistics really mean; and (ii) in the interests of justice, should a standard be introduced that requires a threshold number of matching loci before DNA evidence is allowed to be admitted into the courtroom? 

This symposium aims to lift the veil on the use of DNA evidence in the courtroom by considering this vital issue for the criminal justice system in a manner that is comprehensible to a non-scientific audience. It will be of interest to legal and scientific professionals, journalists, academics and anyone interested in criminal justice. The event is intended to be interactive with the opportunity for questions and answers from attendees. 

RSVP: Email by Wednesday, 28 June 2017


Mr Peter Gleeson (Chair), Editor, Sunday Mail

The Honourable Justice Debra Mullins, Supreme Court of Queensland

Mr Saul Holt QC, Barrister, Queensland

Dr Brian McDonald, Director, DNA Consults, New South Wales

Ms Kirsty Wright, Senior Lecturer, School of Natural Sciences, Griffith University

Public Lecture - Associate Professor Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato
6:15 pm18:15

Public Lecture - Associate Professor Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato

  • Griffith University Webb Centre (S02_7.16)

New Zealand like many other commonwealth jurisdictions, including Australia, experience disproportionate incarceration rates for Indigenous peoples. Despite the raft of initiatives this rate has not altered. Academics such as Jeffries point to the government's failure to reduce offending rates, and calls for, amongst other provisions, a better court service. New Zealand currently holds a youth court on a Marae, conforming to traditional customs and practices. This initiative has not only led to a reduction in recidivism rates but a proliferation of Marae Courts throughout New Zealand. In light of this success, together with the imminent 10 year celebration of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is timely to consider whether such an initiative should extend to adult offenders as a step towards a form of self-determination.

Dr Valmaine Toki is an Associate Professor in Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Waikato. Prior to joining the University of Waikato, Valmaine taught and researched at the University of Auckland's Law School. Valmaine is the first New Zealander appointed to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Her research interests lie primarilyin the area of Indigenous rights.

Public Lecture - Professor Fleur Johns, UNSW
6:15 pm18:15

Public Lecture - Professor Fleur Johns, UNSW

  • Griffith University QCA Lecture Theatre (S05_2.04)

Territoriality is a powerful architecture of association in international law, performing significant bounding, distributive and placement functions. Yet it has always interacted with other global legal architectures of affiliation and disaffiliation, among them informational geographies. So what becomes of territoriality amid the turn to data analytics – the automated analysis of massive, distributed data sets – as a basis for international legal and policy decision, action, thinking, and prediction? This talk canvasses some processes and practices already underway on the global plane that are effecting, on one hand, the “datafication” of territory (and the related rise of a logic of association) and, on the other, the “territorialisation” of data (and the emergence or recurrence of “data territories”) in international legal order. Through these kinds of processes, and in its variable configurations, data might yet parallel physical territory (landed and maritime) as a primary medium for the conduct of juridical global life and conflict, a prospect that raises important questions for international law and lawyers.

Fleur Johns is Professor and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Law at UNSW Sydney, working in public international law and legal theory. Fleur’s work has focused, in particular, on public-private power and norms, and contending styles of governance, in cross-border finance, humanitarian aid, development, and military conflict. Currently, her research is focused on the politico-legal implications of introducing data science to decision making in international humanitarian and development work. Her publications include four books, among them The Mekong: A Socio-legal Approach to River Basin Development (co-authored with Ben Boer, Philip Hirsch, Ben Saul & Natalia Scurrah, Routledge, 2016) and Non-Legality in International Law: Unruly Law (Cambridge, 2013). Previously Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law at the University of Sydney, Fleur has also had a number of visiting appointments worldwide (most recently, at the LSE (UK), the European University Institute (Italy), and the University of Toronto (Canada)) and has a background as a New York corporate lawyer. She has worked part-time for a large part of her career to allow for care responsibilities. Fleur is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (BA, LLB(Hons)) and Harvard University (LLM, SJD; Menzies Scholar; Laylin Prize).

Public Lecture - Professor Valerie Hudson
12:00 pm12:00

Public Lecture - Professor Valerie Hudson

  • Griffith University, Webb Centre (S02_7.07)

Visiting Professor Valerie Hudson will discuss the Hillary Doctrine and gender in US foreign policy. Professor Hudson will explore the implications for the Women, Peace and Security agenda under the Trump administration and the future of gender perspectives in US politics and policy.